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tv   This Week in Northern California  PBS  March 2, 2013 1:30am-2:00am PST

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most. something like $3 billion to $4 billion this year out of total, at least, of an $85 billion first-year cut. the military is taking the biggest cut. california has a major military presence. mostly in southern california, but also, of course, in northern california around sacramento, and around monterey. that's going to be hit really hard, too. $87 million worth at least of education cuts, which means secondary education, some primary education, plus head-start, plus special education, there are all sorts of cuts coming through. will it affect the overall recovery in california? i think, perhaps, not so much, but i think a lot of people are going to be hurt. how they get hurt, how deeply they get hurt, really remains to be seen, because i think the cuts are going to be rolled out fairly slowly and carefully. this has gone, i think, from an
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apocalypse to a slope, and i think the administration would just assume see it being a body slope. >> some specific numbers have been tossed out already. and you kind of touched on this. 1,200 teaching jobs at risk. 8,200 children will lose head-start. some of the cuts are taking effect immediately, but really, when will we feel the full brunt? because furloughs probably won't happen for another month. >> i'm not sure anybody really knows when we're going to feel the full effect. because everybody's still in the planning stage. so for example, when i called oakland airport and sfo, they had no idea what they were going to do. they're waiting for the transportation security administration and the faa to basically tell them. so the faa is walking through its plans now. all they know is that something like 40,000 faa workers are going to be furloughed for a day or two at a time. how this plays out at local
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airports, just, we just don't know. the airports don't know yet. they don't know. >> andrew, are we past a point of no return, or if washington gets its act together and reaches a budget deal, could this all just be unfurled and go back to no sequester? >> anything is possible. >> it's all happening in slow mo anyway. nothing is really, technically no money has been taken away yet. if they reach a deal in two week, if they reach a deal in three weeks? >> anything is possible. i'm a little doubtful that that's going to happen in the short term. maybe in the longer term as the cuts really start to be felt a little bit more. perhaps so. but right now, it seems to me both sides are pretty firmly entrenched in their positions. and i don't -- i think politically they're not going to move. for a while. >> so at what point will there be some kind of movement? are they waiting to see if the public starts pointing more at president obama? or at the democrats? or at the republicans?
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at what point does the political maneuvering become something that will lead to a result that will avert these cuts? >> possibly i would say probably there will be some movement, the latest, by the 2014 elections. i think, i suspect that that's what -- >> that's quite a ways away. >> both sides are waiting for that. i think they're waiting to see how this plays out at election time. because still the republicans have a majority in the house of representatives. they're very powerful in the senate. they have a very strong set of beliefs about no more revenue. just tax cuts only. we just have to worry about the deficit. president obama coming off from an election victory thinks, believes strongly that it's not going to be just about all cuts. it's going to have to be about some revenue raises as well. i think both sides are pretty firmly stuck in that position for the time being. if things get really, really bad, i mean if air traffic is horribly disrupted or something horrible happens, you know, then
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i think probably both sides are going to have to think again. >> do you think the obama administration was, perhaps, overconfident in thinking this could be averted? in that they released over the weekend a report with a breakdown for various states detailing how those states would be affected by the sequester including california. why did they wait so long to release that report? wouldn't it have made more sense to release it weeks ago when the public would have said, oh, that's what's going to happen to our programs? >> i don't think they had the numbers that early. i think the administration was waiting from the office of mandatory budget. the omb was waiting for various agencies. everybody was trying to figure it out. senator dianne feinstein said it best at one of the hearings. she said something like, everybody's worried about what's going to happen, but nobody has an answer. and i think that's still true. i think that nobody really knows except the conventional wisdom right now is it won't be an
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apocalypse. it maybe won't be so bad. it's going to be bad for certain people. going to be bad for people who depend on rent subsidies. it's going to be hard on children's programs. it's going to be hard on nutrition programs. in other words, the people who can, again, perhaps afford it the least are probably, in my view, going to be hurt the most. >> let's take a bigger picture. how much of the pain is real? you said there will be certain sectors affected. some republicans will point out that really the amounts of money we're talking about amount to less than 2.5% of all government spending. >> it's probably a little bit more than that. that's just a percentage. that's abstract. i think that probably a lot of people won't feel it presumably if you're traveling, even if you're traveling business class on an airline and you're delayed for a few hours or even if your flight is canceled, you're going to be unhappy. if you go to yosemite usually for vacation with your kids and there aren't as many park rangers, you can't go to as many
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places because either they're off limits or basically been ruined because there's so much garbage around because it hasn't been picked up, that hurts. >> obviously much more to come on this in the coming month or so. andrew, thank you very much. later this month the u.s. supreme court will hear oral arguments on the question of same-sex marriage. already this week there's been a lot of movement as different parties filed friend of the court briefs in cases involving proposition 8 and the defense of marriage act. jolie, silicon valley companies also filed a brief. who are they? why are they so interested? >> well, about 287 companies signed on to the brief about doma, the defense of marriage act, and these companies are from a wide range of industries, but we in the technology community saw a lot of silicon valley representation. we saw google, microsoft, twitter, zynga, go down the line of public facing consumer internet companies. it's like a roll call there. they're all speaking out very frankly about their support for
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same-sex marriage. and i think we all ask that question, what does any business have in such a personal, political conversation? their argument is this is also an hr conversation. it's about taxes. it's about benefits. it's about insurance. and they feel that they have shouldering an unfair burden in terms of just -- in terms of human relations and human resources. >> specifically, though, pardon me for interrupting, specifically, though, how are they affected? is it impeding their efforts to hire the best people? is it creating legal confusion in the hr department, who gets benefit, who doesn't? >> all of the above. they cited one case where yale university had to -- they messed up taxes for same-sex partners one year when same-sex marriage was made legal somewhere but not somewhere else. and it wasn't legal federally. then they had to charge those employees taxes, extra taxes the following year. it was confusing and hurtful and expensive. and a headache in terms of paperwork.
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so that was the argument they made as businesses. they made a secondary argument that was a little bit more emotional which was it does affect our ability to hire because our values and our ethics and our mission statements are all about nondiscrimination. we want to hire the best talent, whether it's gay talent or straight talent that is supportive of gay equal civil rights. and they also, they feel the pain when, you know, a manager or an executive supports, wants to support all his employees but then as a professional, they have to enact doma, they have to live out the consequences of a discriminatory, what they feel is a discriminatory policy. >> jolie, tell me if i'm wrong, but i think in the prop 8 brief, there was more of an emphasis on the competitive nature of the workforce and how everybody's after the best and the brightest. and if you exclude some of the best and brightest for these reasons, you're going to lose out as a business. >> uh-huh. i think if you're excluding, i mean, we have to bring it back up again, if you're excluding
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lgbt people, you're excluding people who support lgbt people, and, yeah, i think in california and silicon valley, that's a huge issue. >> jolie, do these briefs sort of show that the country has undergone a sea change in the years since prop 8 and since dome that it's now mainstream and acceptable for cautious political players like big corporations like the obama administration to come out in support of same-sex marriage? >> when you have companies like microsoft and goldman sachs, companies that aren't the new kid on the block like facebook or twitter. they're coming out and saying, you know, we have conservative people who work here, we have conservative customers all over the country, all over the world, and we are willing to say we openly support the rights of our employees to marry whomever they choose. that does tell me they're not concerned about the public relations of this because the public relations negative effects will not be enough to harm their business bottom line. i think that means a sea change. >> and that brief was really just one in a wave of briefs filed this week.
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the obama administration filed one supporting same-sex marriage. california attorney general pamela harris filed one. and also there was one by a number of republicans, and i know, andrew, you've reported on the same-sex marriage issue as well. were you surprised by that brief at all? by any of the names that you saw on there? >> not entirely, because you've actually seen a number of republicans also moving in that direction. and have moved from being opposed to civil unions, which then -- unions were okay. then i think people started looking at the opinion polls which have gone a sea change in the past couple of years. it's really astounding. is it something close to 60% of americans see same-sex marriage is okay? so obviously some people are looking at polls. we have a former republican gubernatorial candidate, meg whitman, signing on to one of these amicus briefs. we have her company, hewlett-packard, signing on.
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>> she supported -- >> she supported prop 8. john chambers, who is a republican, who's the ceo of cisco. cisco is very much a diehard supporter of same-sex marriage. because they have very strong lgbt communities inside their workplaces. >> just real quickly, how much of an impact do these types of briefs have in supreme court ases? >> you may be better than i am. i think -- i think it's debatable. the guy who drew up the prop 8 amicus brief said he thought that the wave of business support in these amicus briefs might actually be persuasive to the court. >> i think the arguments they make about hr and law and tax, that would speak more to the supreme court than emotional arguments about how they feel when they have to tell someone they can't not discriminate. >> this isn't just liberal california. this is businesses. this is goldman sachs.
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>> and the court is taking this up on march 26th. 26th and 27th. and so we will watch and see. well, all right. time now for something we haven't seen much of in a while. news that bay area home prices are nudging upwards. yes, you heard right. upwards. carolyn, is this a sign of a rebound in real estate? >> it is indeed. basically what we have here is economics 101. basic laws of supply and demand. there's more buyers out, and they're chasing a limited pool of homes. and that is, you know, what will make prices ratchet up and it already has been happening over the past year and it's expected to continue happening in this coming year. so why are there more buyers? the economy is better. people are more confident about their jobs. mortgage rates are at incredible historic lows. 3.5% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. that really increases people's purchasing power. there's a growing population whose demand, you know, has finally caught up with the supply and there's a lot more
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investors out there who have deep pockets and a lot of money to spend and they, you know, of course, add to the pool of buyers. and in many cases buying a home is -- they can buy a home more cheaply than they can build one. you know, so -- >> where are housing prices going up the most? is it the lower end? the higher end? the middle? >> they're actually going up quite a bit by percentage wise on the lower end, but of course, it's easy to go up percentage wise when you have a house that's $200,000, you know, they can go up 10% or 20%. there's different forces at work, but in all these cases it's still the limited supply. in pittsburg and vallejo, antioch, the places really, really hard hit by the housing downturn, housing prices are still half off their peaks but are coming up 10% a year because that's where the deep pocketed investors are going to buy cheap houses they're going to turn into rentals. that's like wall street's newest
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infatuation is treating single-family homes as multi-unit rentals. >> the high-end homes, the $100 million-plus homes. >> they're doing well. >> so some bay area markets like hillsborough, portola valley, very, very elite silicon valley markets in some parts of san francisco, like pacific heights, they are actually above their peak values. these are places where the median home prices may be $3 million and now it's $3.5 million. the reason is deep pocketed people from tech industry. newly minted millionaires who they also have a lot of cash to spend and they want to be near silicon valley or near the buses to google or in the premiere parts in san francisco. >> is the new home construction business getting better, or are we still talking about mostly about existing homes in the competition? >> at the moment it's a little more existing homes. the bay area is constrained, especially san francisco and the closer in counties has always been there just isn't that much land to build.
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new home construction is slowly ramping up. that's hugely important for the economy because during the downturn, 2 million construction workers nationwide lost their jobs and those were good paying union jobs for skilled tradespeople. most of them did not get back to work in construction jobs. so, you know, it would really make a huge economic difference if construction does start ramping up. in other parts of the country, where land is more available and cheaper, it is ramping up. here it is a little bit but we're so constrained geographically. >> this is good news if you're selling. not so great if you're buying. is it going back to the old days of multiple bids on a home and having to compete in that way? >> it is. and it also is hard for people who are first time home buyers because maybe they're using fha loans where they're putting down 3.5% and they're looking at cheaper homes and having to compete with the investors who are coming in with all cash. and a seller would always take an all-cash offer even if it's a little lower over a financed offer. so, yes, you hear about bidding wars. you know, just like the bubble
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days. you hear about 20 offers. you hear about homes going for 20% over asking. the realtors make that happen a little bit, too. specifically to insight bidding wars. it is hard for the people looking. on the other hand, they have the advantage that interest rates are so low. their effective buying power is much stronger. >> well, bottom line, if you want to sell, sell now. in the spring when most people are looking, anyway. >> yeah. the spring is a big deal. you know, because the hope is that more people will choose to put their homes in the market and that will help with the tight inventory situation. >> all right. we'll see. carolyn, thank you. well, this week, pbs premiered the documentary "makers: women who make america." it's a film showcasing some of the nation's most influential women including bay area resident aileen hernandez. who has dedicated herself to fighting for civil rights. >> you do your best to get something done, and if it's not moving, you don't stay there and
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keep waiting for it to move. you go out somewhere and start pushing them to move. >> among the many roles in her storied career, she also served as president of the national organization for women. i had the privilege of sitting down with her today. miss hernandez, it's a pleasure to have you here. >> thank you so much. i'm delighted to be here. >> you know, you've lived quite a life. you've been a warrior against discrimination and inequality for so many decades. where does that drive come from? >> it actually comes from my getting angry and goes back to when i first went to howard university which is where i went to school and learned of the washington, d.c., the capital of the united states, was totally segregated. >> and what really hit that home for you? >> it was getting off the train as we got ready -- my father took me, so we were getting off the train and he was asking about how we got up to howard university. and they told him he had to go
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look for the black taxicab. so being new yorkers at that time, we just thought the cab was the color of black. it turned out, no, that was not the issue. that if you wanted to go up to howard university, no taxi driver who was white was going to take you. >> well, your mother also was a firecracker. you told me an interesting story about how when you lived in new york, your neighbors actually petitioned to get your family out of the neighborhood. >> yes. >> how did your mother respond? >> this is not going to sound like very ladylike. what my mother did was she took me by the hand, she took me down to the person who had come up with this idea of having a petition, and she walked right in, into the kitchen, and she said to him, what made you decide that you should have us not living in this neighborhood? who are you to make that decision? so part of it i learned very quickly that if you've got an issue, you better start speaking up very early on it.
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what was nice about the end of it was the principal at the school called all of the people together and told them that if they tried to get us out of the neighborhood, he would make sure that we could go into his house and we could still stay there. >> how did you become involved with the international ladies garment workers union? that really how you first became well known. >> well, actually i became involved with the international ladies garment workers union because i was sitting in the library at nyu, the new york university, doing a paper, and i got bored so i said, i need a little time off. and i went down and i saw there was a magazine on the table and the magazine said, ah-ha, read me. i went down and read them, and they had a little ad in there. the ad was, are you an oddball? would you like a job that doesn't pay much money but will
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give you great human involvement? i said, they're talking to me. so i read that. i left new york university, and i went down -- because it said at the end of it, just fill out this and let us know. i went down and they were setting up a whole year of training for anybody who wanted to work for the union. so that's how i got in. then once i got out, because it was a whole year, of course, at the end of it you got a job and you could go any place that the iog was. and i, of course, being in new york, went to california because it was a long distance away and i wanted to see california. >> and it was with the union that you became friends with eleanor roosevelt. >> oh, yes. she was very much involved, incidentally, in organizations and the unions, particularly. and i kept meeting her over my years. i spent a lot of time with her on the committees that were coming up about women. she headed one of the committees
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that john f. kennedy held, no for the union, but for the women's movement. >> what was she like? >> marvelous. she was fantastic. i was in love with her and her husband already because i used to wave at them when i was in elementary school. as he was governor before he was the president. >> the governor of new york. >> governor of new york. and so we would be allowed out of class to go down and wave at them when they were in new york city. >> that's a great story. in 1964, president lyndon johnson appointed you to the newly established equal employment opportunity commission. there were five commissioners. >> right. >> you were the only woman. what was that experience like? >> very interesting. to say the least. that was not unusual. there were not too many women in any place in washington in those days, or in most of the other organizations either. but i was doing this in san francisco, essentially, but
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without anything related to women. we didn't have a law in san francisco that gave us the right to look at issues about women. but i have been doing much of it, and i was really surprised that so many people were so much unaware of what was going on in terms of women's opportunities to keep going up the ladder like the men were giving me opportunities to do. >> after the eoc, you moved on to the national organization for women. n.o.w. how did that come about? because you served as president. >> well, i was going to say, it dit't exist. what happened was we helped put it into place. and, again, i found mrs. roosevelt there because it was her committee that all of us were from all over the united states. all of us were coming in for a committee that john f. kennedy had put together on women. and it was there i had an opportunity to speak about what was not happening with the new law that had just been passed.
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and as a result of that, everybody got angry and decided we needed to have something that would change that. >> and just real quickly, are you happy with the progress we've made? or much more needs to be done? >> well, i certainly am happy with the progress, but i don't think by any means that we are finished. there's a lot more we have to do on all of those levels, and i think it would be very nice if we just went ahead and did that. that's what the laws are supposed to be. we're supposed to be the country that's in front of everybody on making those changes. and i think we have taken too long to get there. >> certainly you were in the thick of it and had a big hand in making sure those changes happened. aileen hernandez, it's been a privilege and a pleasure. thank you so much. >> thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here. one more note, on march 11th aileen hernandez will be a guest on kqed public radio's "forum" pral on 88.5 fm. that wraps up our program for tonight. i'd like to thank all of my guests for being here. always good to see you guys. and finally, we wanted to
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leave you on a light note. literally. if you've seen the bay bridge during the evening this week, you may have noticed that. some new lights. artist leo villa riyal and his team are turning the western span of the bay bridge into the world's largest light sculpture. 25,000 white l.e.d. lights in all. the amazing display is set to begin next week and will run for two years. thanks for watching. i'm thuy vu. have a good night.
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gwen: a meat cleaver falls on the federal budget tonight but will there be blood? and the supreme court tackles the voting rights act. tonight on "washington week." >> this is not going to be a apocalypse. it's just going to hurt. gwen: time ran out today as big budget cuts kicked in and there may be more pain to come. >> i'm hopeful we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time. gwen: lawmakers are calling the crisis dumb, manufactured, aploy. but now the across-the-board budget cuts are law. we examine the impact. at the supreme court, challenge to an historic law.
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how far should the federal government go to enforce voting rights? >> i think it is very likely it's debatable to a phenomenon that is caused perpetuation to racial entitlement. >> do you think racial discrimination in voting has ended? gwen: covering a big week in washington, joan biskupic of reuters, gloria borger of cnn, and david wessel with "the wall street journal." >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it happens. live from our nation's capital, this is "washington week" with gwen ifill. corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we went out and asked people a simple question, how old is the oldest person you've known? a simple question, how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a


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